Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Spicy Olive Oil

Olive oils are always robustly flavoured, often with spicy and hot herbs. Usually, the herbs used are chilli and of Asiatic origin. The one I am going to introduce is typically flavoured and is a favourite among Europeans. Also, infusing olive oil with such herbs increase its antioxidant activities as well as helping to preserve the herb and the oil. In addition, infusing the oil with certain herbs will give the oil special properties; for example, the liberal usage of spices such as Cardamom and Coriander will render the oil having carminative property.


As olive oil possesses a lot of admirable virtues by itself, it is deemed relevant if one is to take it regularly. Its health benefits are world-renowned and it is a demulcent, aperient and laxative in large quantity. Many might not know it but externally applying olive oil has its effects as well. It helps in joint pains, bruises, oedema, sprains, and rheumatic problems.


Well, enough for the function, let’s off to the recipe.


Ingredients


2 tbsp of Coriander Seeds

1 tbsp of Cumin

1 tbsp of Cardamom pods

1 litre of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 dried Chilli

4 Bay Leaves



  1. Crush the Coriander and Cumin roughly, split the cardamom pods and put all the herbs including the chilli into a saucepan. Dry fry the spices.

  2. Remove from the heat (off the stove of course) and incorporate the oil. Pour into a large, sterilised screw-topped bottle (or use the original cleansed bottle of olive oil). Add the bay leaves (roughly shredded) and seal well. Store in a cool and dark place; give it a shake each day.

  3. Strain and decant into a nice, presentable bottle if you wish. Add in some extra bay leaves and a few of the whole spices as d├ęcor. This step is absolutely optional.



A million thanks to the author “Tessa Evelegh” and her book “Spicecrafts” which is delightfully illustrated by photographer “Michelle Garrett”. This book inspired me a lot, from spiced car pouch to aromatic cup mat. Nevertheless, this book is almost an artwork by itself and certainly help me much in understanding and appreciating the aesthetic value of herbs.

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